Rise of the Virtual Data Resource

By Chase Doelling in Posted Jul 30, 2018


You do...but not the way you think you do. If you are a modern organization leveraging any one of thousands of SaaS applications, in some ways you actually rent access to your data. Yes, you worked hard for that customer, their team, and their information, but the data now lives behind a login screen. Of course, baked into your monthly fee is access to this data - along with crucial functionality that helps your organization communicate, perform, analyze business operations in a way that is not possible without the SaaS apps you leverage. It’s a way to gain world-class operations at the speed of a credit card that is crucial to the growth of any organization.

In using those table stakes you make a tradeoff, you don’t end up owning your data, your applications do. More importantly, when you need to integrate, orchestrate and bring data together, you can’t access them the same way. The application defines access to data and the format of that data, and no two applications are built the same way. In our experience, this holds especially true for those application’s APIs.

At Cloud Elements our vision is to unify the worlds APIs. A key milestone in achieving that vision is to allow our customers to regain control of their data, in a format they dictate, not by the applications they use. This agnostic integration strategy gives customers greater freedom in the applications they choose to become world class themselves, separating organizational operations from organizational data. This new landmark for integration is the Virtualized Data Resource.

A Virtualized Data Resource (VDR) at its core, is a virtualized representation of a data model that you construct. Putting your data models at the center of your application ecosystem and enabling you to manage the data you care about in the structure that is best for your application, business or specific use case.

Providing a canonicalized view of your data objects eliminates the need for point-to-point mapping of data to each and every new application. Our resource mapping capability leverages the enriched API models maintained by Cloud Elements to make it easier to map from your virtual data resource, to the endpoints you require.

The combination of our Unified APIs that make up our Elements with a Virtual Data Resource is what creates our unique one-to-many architecture. Create a Virtual Data Resource and every new app you interact with, plugs into the existing resource model. No more point-to-point, just manage one Virtual Resource and map each endpoint to this common model.

As your app ecosystem scales, your Virtual Data Resource remains constant. No longer do you need to implement hundreds of static, yet brittle point-to-point connections for each application in your ecosystem. Your account view in a /myAccounts VDR will have the same data model, whether it’s connected to 2 or 2,000 applications, and can scale across multiple use cases.

Integration shouldn’t be about tying specific applications together but rather the business processes and use cases that you use in those applications. This can be done both internally within your organization but also externally and how you expose it to your customers and partners.

How to Get Started

To create your first Virtual Data Resource, visit the tab on the left-hand side in your account. Create and name your new Virtual Data Resource, and begin mapping the fields that are specific to how your application wants data. Similarly, after authenticating a new Element instance, you can click "Add Virtual Data Resource" with its pre-mapped fields.



Finally, I would like to announce Shareable Virtual Data Resources, pre-templated mappings based on best practices that we have seen through thousands of different integrations to common endpoints. This example shows how quickly you can create the mappings for /contacts across multiple applications. You can also clone VDRs from existing ones or instances.



We look forward to transforming how organizations can agnostically integrate with their most valuable resource, their own data.